The Roku Channel’s new series Swimming with Sharks seeks to take a look into some of the darkness in the Hollywood system, with two women in the business at the center of it.
The series centers on Lou Simms (Kiernan Shipka), who at the beginning of her internship at Fountain Pictures, “seems like a naïve Hollywood newcomer, awestruck by the studio’s notorious CEO, Joyce Holt (Diane Kruger). In truth, Lou has done extensive research on Joyce and landing this internship was no happy accident. As Lou’s obsession grows, she will do anything to get close to her idol.”
Swimming with Sharks also stars Donald Sutherland, Thomas Dekker, Finn Jones, Erika Alexander, Ross Butler and Gerardo Celasco.
Shadow and Act recently spoke with Kruger and Shipka about the series and being tasked with playing these intricately complex roles. Kruger says that while most of the material she was brought in via the script, her own observations were able to shape the character of Joyce as well.
She explained, “I think if anything, those were experiences that Kathleen [Robinson, showrunner] may or may not have had [and] I have certainly observed my fair share of bad behavior in my career, whether that’s towards me or other people. But a lot of it was just the fun of doing those scenes and what I imagined would be really unacceptable. Then a lot of the more personal stuff [and] personal side to Joyce those were more personal to me and those were in a way more challenging because it’s just so fun to be outrageous, you and so fun to just see how bad and how far you can take it.”
A little bit different than previous characters Shipka has played in the past and is by far one of the most calculated characters she’s portrayed.
“It was really fun as a performer because I think that Lou holds a lot of secrets,” she told us. “She is kind of calculating from the beginning, but the story is told in a way where the audience isn’t supposed to know that she’s calculating from the beginning. So playing her required levels of subtlety that were very interesting to play. I liked that kind of stuff. I like things that are unspoken and sort of more said with eyes and little actions that maybe you can go back and rewatch and say, ‘Oh, yes, she actually did pick that up there. That does make sense.’ So for me, it was kind of like a game within a game….within a game. Playing felt like a little project. We were planting seeds [and] it was very entertaining for me to do.”
Watch the full interview below featuring Kruger, Shipka and showrunner Kathleen Robinson below:
All six episodes of Swimming with Sharks are streaming now on The Roku Channel.